This week we had the opportunity to interview Jon Erik Zayas, creator of LoopLabs and the newly established WIFI Records! Jon is a music professional who takes a fresh new approach to the music industry, taking advantage of today’s innovative technology to connect people from all over the world, fans and musicians alike!
“Well where I came from I’ve had a large influence just from my family always being involved in the industry, the entertainment, the arts and I was heavily intrigued by not understanding what the full functionalities were of the music industry. there are tons of moving parts which I think people need to understand, getting that education with my family, and with people outside of the music industry I think really opened up my mind and kept me intrigued and still keeps me intrigued to this day.
A big word that I’m using today is “compartmentalizing” within the industry, which is understanding outlets; your distribution outlets, your promotion outlets, how to create music, when to speak to legal, when to talk to accounting. That still till today drives me for creating my business. You have two parts of the music industry; the music component, and you also have the industry component which a lot of it is business, administrative, and doing a lot behind the scenes. That’s what sort of drives me and is still driving me today.
With everything that you’re working on, do you see other companies coming out and competing with what you do?
“In any industry that you are in there is always going to be competition. That is what drives us. Always having friendly competition, and when you sort of make it like a sport, sort of like NBA. I think when you look at it in that aspect sort of being like a sport, and people still being competitive, it’s the same in any industry that you dabble into. I feel there is always going to be a competitive edge and a competitive nature with people you work with and their dynamic personalities. That is sort of what keeps me driven.
In regards to competition, absolutely. There are always going to be competitors out there and there is always going to be people working in a similar space, but again I think it’s about branding yourself as an individual and branding the people that you work with that makes up the DNA of your company. That’s truly important. The producers you work with, the sound you look for, all of that stuff sort of adds to the recipe, all of that stuff adds to the recipe of delivering a full on company, and it’s exciting. Some people are going to like the color red versus the color blue, and those are things we look into in terms of data. So that’s kind of my outlook on the whole competitive edge. I mean humans are competitive by nature and that’s not going to change, but I feel that is what keeps people driven.”
So in the technical side of the industry, there are so many different ways to develop. You have people in a hive together, people remote, you have all different kinds of ways of doing things. With you guys there what does your daily routine look like?
“Well for myself, because it is a music company I like to stay close to the actual music. So when I wake up I’m always listening to music, talking to different producers, speaking to different artists as well and getting their insight of what is going on. It’s consistent communication, communication is a driver for my business. Understanding what people like, what kind of things are going on continues to be one of my main drivers; and staying on top of my Ps and Qs. You constantly want to be up to date, you want to understand the new sound. I still get excited with new music that gets dropped. Now with all the new consumption and delivery methods, music can drop at 4 or 5 in the morning and if you just so happen to be up at that time and you listen to it, it’s still exciting to share that among my friends and business colleagues. Did you get this new sound did you hear this new record? That still excites me today, as it did back when I used to collect mixtapes and go to the record store, and have my ear on certain sounds. So I think that still continues to be one of the main drivers for myself.”
With everything else that you’re doing, you’re working on a young record label right now, and as you’re looking at that, there has been so many changes in the music industry. The old record labels are gone in the way of the dinosaur, none of the old rules apply. So what is your take on the changing industry and trying to help these musicians you are working with to actually develop a brand and a career?
“in regards to the actual music itself, you have to stick to the fundamentals of creating music. You’re always going to hear different sounds here and there and I appreciate people asking my opinion and lending my ear out to people as far as what they may think sounds good or where they think certain things sound good or bad, but to be frank I think you have your select industry insiders of people that you can go to and sort of listen to a sound to say hey this sounds right, you always have your checks and balances, and you stick to the fundamentals. A good song is always going to be a good song, people don’t wake up in the morning thinking they are going to write a bad song, so it’s just bouncing those ideas with trusted industry insiders, getting a feel, and taking a risk just like any other business. Putting that song out and seeing what the results will be after getting an opinion from a general audience.”
You were talking about consumption and delivery, the bottom line is music is the emotional tie for us. Like you said a good song will always be a good song, but the problem everybody is facing is that the music in and of itself is no longer what the artist is able to necessarily monetize like they used to. We’ve gone from an industry of ownership, owning music through mixtapes, vinyl, CD’s; but now we are about access, we want access to it. We pay 10 dollars a month we get everything we want as much as we want. It has kind of changed from ownership to pure access. So with all this stuff we’ve been talking about, how does an artist monetize that? How do they grow a career knowing that the music has to be there and it costs money to develop it, but there has to be other ways of monetizing listening habits?
“Absolutely. I think I think it comes down to creating that mystique. You know legacy artists, people like Prince, Madonna, Bon Jovi. Aside from creating music they have always been able to create that mystique. They plan out the release date, know that it will be fully available to the world at that point, follow-up with it, form a brand and marketing around it. I also think curating content is super important, I think that anything that wants to be delivered should definitely have a curation method so that it can be delivered, but delivered with meaning.”
It’s going to be interesting to follow you guys, you’re young and you’re on the edge of everything as far as record labels are concerned, in addition to everything you are doing on the software side which we are already a huge fan of.
So to wrap up a little bit, who are your big inspirations in music and everything you’re doing.
“Definitely my family. I have a family that has a large footprint in the music industry, Latin markets and general markets overall. Marc Anthony who has been a great individual, teacher and mentor. For the little bit of time I do get to see him since he is always working and so busy he’s always dropped amazing gems. Along my father, Bigram Zayas who has been the architect for Marc’s career in helping him deliver his sound and negotiate a lot of his deals. Also my brother, DVLP who actually has a number one song out right now on a Latin billboard right now. He’s always been a great influence to me, just watching his work ethics. Outside of the family, guys like JZ I’ve always looked up to, I’m a huge fan of Hip-hop. Seeing a young guy like Drake creating his own franchise has been very influential, and people out of that sort of cloth in general. My business partner, Craig Swan, who is a huge fan of music and has also opened up my mind with what we’ve created with loop labs, and seeing what different approaches we can take in the music industry with different mediums of technology. I’ve been very grateful and privileged to be around that.
Tell us about a bit your label WIFI records
“I created a WIFI just being around the tech, being around the music. I always wanted a name that was very recognizable for the community. Right now this matrix we are leaving in right now, I wanted WIFI to act as an enabler for artists to connect with their fans, create augmented experiences with their fans, just utilizing tech mediums and different delivery methods so that’s sort of what I’m building now. I’m privileged to work with ONHEL, a producer coming from the east coast, and a songwriter by the name of Syndee Rene right now who hands down to me is an amazing talent, and I’m looking to just grow, I’m planting the seed right now and growing from the ground up. Utilizing fundamentals, staying in the studio, and keeping my ear to the streets. WIFI with Loop Labs are definitely complimenting each other in those aspects.”
WIFI definitely speaks to a newer breed of record labels and distribution so that is really exciting to see.
Do you have any events coming up we should be on the lookout for?
“This weekend we are doing the Highlife Car Show. The COPA America Soccer Tour that is going on right now, we actually got invited to create the pregame music experience for a lot of the soccer games, so if you check out COPA America 2016, there are about 18 dates going on right now that we will be creating a lot of the music for. Events are happening all the time, I like to participate with events from larger scale to small scale, just to sort of see what’s going on out there, getting that influence and living in it. I think the moment you stop getting inspired by events and new music is the moment it turns into work, so this is certainly a passion for me and will continue to be a passion for me. I’ll continue to have updates on our website wifi-records.com. Right now I’m promoting a music video by Merk Montez and Pinto called Muy Caliente, and it’s sort of a Spanglish sort of song. It’s really cool because it is a great example of artists collaborating to create a whole new sound. I’ve been seeing a lot of that with Loop labs, being that people online from different areas create and collaborate new sounds. In a sense Loop Labs is creating a lot of genreless music right now that is “UNSHAZAMABLE” It’s creating new music that you can’t find anywhere so it creates a lot of excitement for people looking for new sounds.
So where can we find you online?
“Right now you can find us on Instagram at @WIFI_Records, and obviously go to LoopLabs.com. Anyone and everyone please sign on, it’s an agnostic platform, and we would love to have new people participating, making new music, new friends, connecting with different people. Giving people a place to communicate over music, so making people less timid to communicate. Being that we have chat features on there, it creates a space for people to create amongst each other so I’m looking at it as a huge communication tool. Of course check out WIFI-Records.com, we have one music video up there right now, but in the near future we will be delivering tons of new video and tons of new music. I want to have a segment, something like WIFILearn where we will have a place for people to have resources, whether they need an accountant or an attorney, just to get their feet wet once they get into the commercial space of delivering their projects so I’m really excited about that.
I’m also very humbled and privileged that you guys took the time out to have me speak on your platform and I hope we can do it again in the near future, because as I said I think it is very important to get the thoughts and ideas out there.
Definitely, and we are excited for what’s going on with you guys. We will definitely stay in touch and you’ll have to keep us apprised with all of the updates and developments. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we do this!
“Thank you so much, and thanks Amanda and everyone back at Conquer Entertainment. I’ve seen the platform grow tremendously and I know it’s going to grow even more, and I’m here whenever you guys need me just dial me up!”
Thanks for taking the time out of your day and we will talk to you again soon! #ConquerLife
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